The Suburban Captive, Part One

The main task, effort, lesson, understanding or goal (whatever you want to call it) for the suburban captive is to learn how to be completely content and happy within their captivity. No easy undertaking and often one must go through years of hating and denying their captivity in order to get to a place where they are able to embrace and make friends with it.

These years of denying and hating captivity and the experiences that a person has when in this stage or state (depression, emptiness, self-destruction, addiction and excessive boredom) can be the subject matter for volumes upon volumes of books. Outside of a few novels and essays, this subject matter has yet to be undertaken or covered by writers.

Everyone who lives in the suburbs experiences suburban captivity. There is just no way around it when living in the suburbs. Avoiding captivity when living in the suburbs is like avoiding getting wet when swimming in the ocean. Cannot happen.

Captivity is occurring when there is no place for a person to go where they can feel permanently freed. A person in suburban captivity can’t go anywhere and be authentically free. They are held captive in and by their homes. Even though a home and garden can be incredibly beautiful, comfortable and filled with all kinds of delights- a person is still captive there because they really have no place to go.

The vast majority of people who live in the suburbs are continually trying to escape from their captivity. Their lives are a continual effort to escape. They travel, they go out to restaurants, they go to movies, they go hiking, they go to work, they go to friend’s homes, they go to bars, they go to parties, they watch television, they are obsessed with the cell phones- always trying to escape captivity. But this way of life is very draining and often they embrace their captivity when they have no energy left.

The suburban captive who has fully embraced his captivity is full of energy but does not use this energy to go anywhere. Instead, he uses the energy to successfully live a life while embracing suburban captivity.

Those who are preoccupied with trying to escape their captivity, deep down know that there is no place to go. Even though they often think about all the things they have to do and all the places they want to go- they often know that this doing and going and consuming never really delivers them the escape they are searching for. The reason for this is because this constant doing, going and consuming is what causes much of the captivity in the first place. One is wrong in thinking that escape equals freedom. What kind of prisoner escapes and experiences more freedom as a result? Very few.

Most suburban captives search for escape their entire lives. Some finally realize that there is actually no place to go, no place to escape to. They then stop needing to leave their homes (unless necessary) and begin learning how to enjoy captivity. How to really settle in. This is not a surrender but instead it is an embrace. It is a way of life that can bring a person great fulfillment when done correctly.

The suburban captive is held captive by their homes, their expenses, their banks, their garden, their television, their dogs, their furniture, their books, their records, their appliances, their electricity, their water- all the things which make up a suburban life. These things erect an invisible wall around a person which shelters them from the chaos of the outside world. But in order to maintain this shelter a person must work, and the unpleasantness of this work for money often causes the suburban captive to long for escape.

More escape just builds bigger walls that a person will never be able to climb over or break through.

The true suburban captive has stopped needing to go out. They go to work and go out for a few things (occasional meals, trips to the market and social situations) but they no longer need to go out into the world. They once went out into the world to do things, to buy things, to have experiences- but they eventually realized that this does not work. They reach a point where they realize they are living in captivity and that there is no escape from it. Like any skilled captive in any situation, at this point the suburban captive embraces their captivity. They learn to build a fulfilling life within the walls (which is actually how to get rid of the walls) that can never be seen from the outside. Suburban walls exist within.

Once the suburban captive has reached the stage of embracing their captivity, realizing that escape cannot be found in buying things, going out, spending money, promiscuous sex, alcohol, socializing and even working- this is the stage when the suburban captive begins to deepen their relationship within themselves. The successful suburban captive is at home within. A fully realized person. Self-actualized. Nothing any longer stresses him out. He is completely fulfilled and at peace within himself, therefore nothing outside himself can cause much distress. Most suburban captives are continually getting stressed out because they are avoiding settling in to themselves. They are still look for escape on the outside.

The suburban captive who has embraced their captivity knows that they exist in captivity. They have accepted their captivity even though no one can see the walls. From the outside everything looks affluent, privileged, free, calm and beautiful so no one imagines that captivity could occur. How could you be held captive when living within such beauty? But it is exactly the act of owning and sustaining these things which creates the suburban captive. The only way that the suburban captive can truly be free and happy within this kind of affluent captivity (the worst kind of captivity is the kind of captivity which everyone is experiencing, but no one talks about because they think their captivity is their freedom) is to acknowledge and embrace the captivity which they have taken suburban residence in.

Once a suburban captive has done this, once they have had enough of the pain involved in trying to escape, they can get down to the real business of cultivating a truly fulfilling life from within, at home.

An Interview About Writing on Medium

Why do you keep writing on Medium?

What do you mean?

Why do you keep doing it?

First off, I write for myself. Then I sometimes post things on Medium.

You post on Medium almost every day.

Ok, maybe this is true but I write for myself first.

And you post on Medium because it says you have over a thousand followers?

Yeah, it is kind of cool to think that I have that many people reading my stuff.

You know that is a big bluff right? You know that this is a huge, well thought out scam played on writers?

What are you talking about?

I am talking about manipulating writer’s deepest sensitivities and longings. The creators of Medium have found a way to do this. Every writer dreams about having over a thousand or thousands of readers. But you don’t have a thousand readers on Medium. You are lucky if you get ten. The people who designed Medium just set things up so it seems like a lot of people might read your work.

Why would they do this?

Because, it keeps people posting content to their site. What better way to keep people posting content for free than providing them with the idea that lots of people follow their work. It is a genius concept but the trick is being played on the writers. Medium consumes content in the same way that your stomach consumes endless amounts of food. They live off the content posted to their site. They are sucking writers dry so that they can continue to thrive. And what do writers who post on Medium get?

What?

The illusion that they are being read by many. Now maybe if you post popular kinds of content you might get more readers, but still it is not as many as you think.

What do you mean by popular writing?

You know, the stuff that the not so smart masses want to read. The stuff about how to become a better and more productive person. The stuff about technology and business. The “How To” stuff that people consume and then forget about in a few days because they have moved on to the next meal. This is the stuff that Medium fills up on. They are just a consumer of endless amounts of motivational and technological content. None of what is being written on Medium will matter in a few years, let alone a week.

Shit, that is bleak.

Yes, and you try and post quality, creative stuff on Medium. You try and post what could be considered literature but no one wants this kind of content on Medium. It is not easy and motivational enough. It makes readers to aware of parts of their lives they wish to forget by reading popular motivational content on Medium. The irony is that in a hundred years, some of what you post on Medium may be the only stuff still being read.

So you are saying that Medium is a good long term, preservational platform for my work?

It has that possibility for you. You can use Medium in the same way that they are using you.

How so?

You let them manipulate you into thinking you have thousands of readers and you let them consume your hard-earned content for free but you potentially get a platform that will preserve your best work for centuries to come.

Hmmm. Never thought of it like this.

Medium is filled with a sea of crap. Often it takes humans half a decade or more to find the quality stuff. Medium is one safe space for your work to dwell in obscurity for a while. You are the fish out of water on here.

But if I was a fish in the water with all the other fish, I would have a lot more readers. I could possibly make money and get more known from what I write.

Yes, but your work will be completely forgotten in a hundred years. With what you are writing now- you still have a shot. Short term pain for longer term gain.

Interesting. Well, thank you for the perspective. I really appreciate it. It helps.

Sure. Oh, and also for what it is worth- you might get a few more readers now and then if you get better at editing what you write.

Yes, I know but I am imperfect when it comes to this skill. I do the best I can. Besides, few real writers are ever any good at editing. I am perfectly comfortable with fucking up. A real writer without an editor is like a bike without a rider.

I understand. You do the best you can with what you got. There are some real writers, as you put it, who are also really good at editing.

Yes, I know. But they are not the majority.

Yes. This is true. A real writer is good at creating the soul in what is written and an editor makes the soul presentable to the reader. This is why most writers are not real writers- there is no soul in what they write. It’s almost robotic.

Exactly. But the editing is great.

Yes. True.

Well, thanks again for your perspective.

Sure. Keep at it man. Don’t give up. You are good at what you do.

Thanks.

Things All Over The Place

Things all over the place. Someday, some yet unknown civilization will study us and think that we had things all over the place. We are consumed by our things and few things ever remain in their right place.

I love some of my things, but does this mean I need to have things all over the place? Has humanity really evolved to have this many things all over the place? Can our brains really handle all these things all over the place? Just about all of our homes have things all over the place. There are things everywhere, too many to name.

Some of us are lucky enough to have the time, energy and/or money to have things continually kept in their right place. Few of us are disciplined enough to keep everything right where it needs to be, at all times. After all, this is the only way that most of us could maintain sanity and stability with things.

We have built our lives in order to have things all over the place. This is what we do. This is where human ingenuity has landed us. We labor away and then we collect things. It is fun buying things with our hard earned cash. If we did not do this what would be the point of our labor? We certainly don’t love the things we do for cash so we better enjoy the spending of it.

We end up with things all over the place.

What we did for fun becomes an excess of things all over the place. Memories materialized into things.

And now our lives become about keeping things in their right place. Learning how to not get so angry when things are all over the place. Figuring out how to keep things from getting all over the place. Straining our relationships because of the stress of having things all over the place. Not spending our time more meaningfully because we are too tired after dealing with things all over the place. Wishing we could just be comfortable with things all over the place but never being able to achieve this ideal.

Those who are perfectly at home and relaxed with things all over the place are the enlightened beings in our day and age of too many things all over the place.

Our world is surrounded by things all over the place. The inside of our homes is a reflection of the clutter all around. Everything is out of place. There is clutter everywhere, unless you are fortunate enough to live where no one else or only a few are around. But chances are you still live in a home with things all over the place. We live in a world of things all over the place and our homes become microcosmic portraitures of this macrocosmic crisis.

It is inevitable. When we live with things all over the place our inner worlds become filled with things all over the place. Everything is out of place on the outside because everything is out of place on the inside. Or is everything out of place on the inside because everything is out of place on the outside?

Thoughts all over the place. An endless number of things to get done. Different feelings running into one another. Continually trying to get things organized on the inside but never feeling able to. Looking towards drugs and alcohol to help us straighten things out, if only for a minute. Meditating, doing yoga, going to therapists, reading self-help books, going on retreat- all in the hope of effectively dealing with these things all over the place.

No scientific research is needed to tell us we live in a world, inside and out, with too many things all over the place. We are buried beneath these things, always struggling to find a way to get things in order. We struggle to remain organized inside and out. We try as hard as we can to deal with things all over the place. But more often than not, our only shot at survival is to say fuck it and accept that this is now a world with things all over the place.

I Choose Depression

When I told my mother that I am dealing with depression she said, “Well son, depression is a choice.” Then she quickly escaped any further conversation about it by making up a story that she was in a meeting and had to go. What meeting? My mom has not worked in over twenty years.

Even though I felt deeply wounded by her quick dismissal of my pain, I thought about what she said. “Depression is a choice.” Am I choosing to be depressed?

A fellow psychotherapist whom I sometimes have lunch with deals with serious depression. But he is one of the happier people I know. He often says, “I choose joy. I choose to be joyful because I have to.” Really? You have to? I find it odd that someone who is very depressed could appear so happy. Something seems very forced and inauthentic about it to me, but who am I to judge? Don’t most people do this?

Deep down, depression is a choice. It is true that I have little interest in happiness. I find positivity and happiness to be incredibly banal and superficial states to be in. If I am happy, great- I will enjoy it. But it is the pursuit of happiness and positivity that I think is responsible for so much misery.

As a psychotherapist, the one thing I hear all the time is, “I just want to be happy.” This I feel is the root of most people’s unhappiness (and empty bank accounts).

I choose not to be happy. If happiness shows up, as it sometimes does, I don’t turn it away. I enjoy it. But I choose to not strive to be happy and positive. I don’t think I should be happy. In fact, I think the desire to be happy is just as dangerous as driving a motorcycle at high speeds.

Depression is a logical emotional reflection of the world we are living in today. Just like a pool of water reflects the sky and trees that hang over it, depression is a reflection of the world the soul is living in today. The soul is lonely and in a state of terror and despair. The soul is sad about all the sensless violence all around. The soul feels under threat from the absence of creativity and authentic community in our working and private lives. The soul feels stuck by political and economic conditions outside our control. The soul feels empty because the more it tries to find fulfillment in external things, the more alone and empty it feels. The soul is quite frustrated in the Capitalistic world of today.

And then there is the simple fact of our own mortality. The fact that everything we love, everything we hold close to ourselves, everything we have earned, even ourselves, will disappear. When a person really looks closely at the image being reflecting by the pool of water- depression is what they will see.

Most chose not to look at all. Just keep looking away. Say you have a metting to get to.

My mom is right though. I do chose depression because depression is what I see reflected back at me, especially in my work as a psychotherapist. I mean how could I hear about the worst things that happen to people in life, day after day, without feeling depressed? How could I be a psychotherapist and be happy? Happy Psychotherapist is just another term for Sociopath Psychotherapist, Psycho Psychotherapist or plain old Shitty Psychotherapist. If a therapist is able to be happy while hearing about the worst things that happen to people, stop seeing them. They do not care about you, even though they may act like they do.

The best psychotherapist I ever knew, who was given all kinds of awards and wrote several books and was a prestigous mentor to many including myself, jumped off a bridge.

If I am going to provide guidance to those going through the various difficult aspects of life, I want to be one of them. I want to get real with myself and stop pursuing fake dreams of Hollywood induced happiness. How else can I really help? This is what I learned from him.

In middle-age, my life has become more about learning how to live with, learn about, accept and get better at describing the image being reflected back at me, rather than trying to change it, run from it, fix it, deny it, worry about it, complain about it and/or ignore it (common stratageies in the America of today).

Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. This is my strategy. I leave my depression alone. I see it and accept that it is there. I lean into it and learn from it. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I just notice that it is there and smile at it. Sometimes I notice that it goes away.

Because of depression I am pushed further inside of myself. I am forced to let go of any kind of belief in the attainment of any real Hollywood fulfillment through economic and material gain (consumerism) and instead work towards transmuting my loneliness into real solitude.

I meditate. I contemplate. I sit alone.

Loneliness is a terrible feeling of disappearing even when we have so much and are around so many. When lonely, we can never get enough and are continually in pursuit of more. We even feel separated from ourselves when alone so we turn on the TV for company. Solitude means to be at home in ourselves. A person who is in real solitude is a person who is comfortable within themselves. A person in solitude is a person who is no longer disappearing. They have arrived. They are two people in one. Friends with themself. A person who is dealing with lonliness (which is the majority of people in American society) is no one in one. They have no friend within to sit with.

The person who is striving for happiness is often no one in one. This feeling of being no one within is the fuel that keeps us searching for more. Some of the greatest empires and fortunes have been built by these kinds of people. But this striving is an endless pursuit because it is the pursuit which is creating the loneliness.

Depression pushes us down into solitude. The person with depression is given the opportunity to become more at home within themselves by being pushed further within. The person who survives and successfully manages depression is the person who has been able to move from loneliness into solitude. Those who do not survive depression or who end up having depression destroy their lives, have not been able to move through loneliness. They get stuck in continually feeling as if they are disappearing inside because they are pursuing happiness on the outside.

So yes, I do chose to be depressed. Why not? Depression helps me to relate to the world in a way that feels more logical and sane. The happiness and positivity craze that the vast majority of people are suffering from at this moment in history, only leads a person away from themselves and towards more lonliness. Just do a Google search on the amount of people taking psychiatric medications and buying self help books in this country. The pursuit of happiness and positivity creates a superficial existence that lacks substance because it is always in pursuit of something. Depression is deepening. It pushes a person further within themselves because there is the realization that the loneliness in the outside world can never bring them the happiness they were looking for.

Fuck happiness. Stop buying their books and going to their workshops. Stop ingesting their pills. By now don’t you see that it does not work? Instead, get better at being depressed.

It is only through going further within, through the deepening of one’s relationship with oneself that real solitude can be attained. And it is when we discover solitude within ourselves, that we really start to live free.

The Jaywalker

“Jaywalker!”

This is what my client shouted out her car window as she drove past me crossing the street. I was startled and almost dropped the black coffee I held in my hand and the cigarette I had in my mouth. Like a child caught doing something wrong but still trying to pretend like there is nothing wrong, I smiled and gave a friendly wave back at her as she drove away in her silver Tesla. I then returned to work.

I am the kind of person who crosses the street when and wherever I need to. I just cross. I do not like the idea of being told what to do by two painted lines on asphalt. Crossing in the crosswalk causes me to feel bad about myself. Like I am doing something that I know is not good for me. I often feel no different than a cow obediently following along.

I prefer to jaywalk and will explain why this illegal act is so important for mental health in a bit.

But first….

I didn’t think much more about it for the rest of the afternoon and got lost in trying to help my psychotherapy clients solve some of their unsolvable problems. The good thing about being a psychotherapist is that you can forget about your own problems for a while, pretend like you have none, and focus on someone else’s troubled inner world. I am often surprised when I come home from work and find several problems waiting for me. “Oh, hey,” I say. “I almost forgot about you.”

The following day, my client who caught me jaywalking did not show up for her appointment. Really? This was odd behavior since I had been working with her for over a year. She came to every appointment and would often say that her life depended on psychotherapy. She had no communication with any of her children and lived alone in a large and beautiful home. She was continually unhappy about her life and felt like psychotherapy helped her to work things out and become a better person in her mid-life. I sent her a text asking if she was still going to make it to our scheduled session but did not receive a response that day. Or the next.

I knew that my client had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder by a previous therapist, but I tried not to see her in the light of this diagnosis. Diagnosis helps no one is my general belief. I know that Borderline Personality Disorder causes a person to go from loving you to disliking and being angry with you at the snap of two fingers, but I wanted to believe that our therapeutic relationship was more stable than this. We would work through anything that came up, I told myself. We seemed to get along perfectly well but it is always tough to tell when a personality disorder is present in the room. When I did not receive any response from my text after a few days, I knew that something was wrong. It was obvious to me that she was condemning me for illegally crossing the street.

I realize that many people do not like the idea of being given advice from someone who walks outside of two lines painted on asphalt. A jaywalker has a negative connotation in our much too obedient, rule driven society. Everyone is expected to walk within the lines and those who do not are harshly judged. If I am a jaywalker what other rules do I break? I must be troubled person if I can’t even cross the street within the lines. What an irresponsible professional I must be. My client was a CEO of a large corporation and I knew that she deeply respects rules and expects everyone to follow them. Still I assumed that when she yelled out her Tesla window, “Jaywalker!” she was just playing around with me. A funny coincidence passing your therapist jaywalking in mid-afternoon on a crowded street. I did not realize that her yelling at me was actually an angry condemnation. How dare I illegally cross the street. I should know better. This sort of thing.

I realize that my brain has a tendency to jump towards the worst case scenario. I once had a meditation teacher who told me, “You have the kind of brain that when you walk down the street and you notice a rope in the middle of the street you immediately assume it is a snake. It takes you a few minutes to realize that it is just a rope.” Fair enough. I have done a lot of work to correct this psychological disability but being born and raised Jewish predestines a person to certain amount of self-created psychological duress, which is impossible to correct. The best a person can do is be aware of when their disability is causing them to experience the world in a way which is not true. A person who can’t do this is often called psychotic.

I don’t want to be psychotic. I want to know what I am doing when I do it.

It is possible that my client is not thinking what I think she is thinking. It is possible that not soon after passing me she was in a serious car accident and is now dead. It is odd that she suddenly stopped coming to our sessions and will not reply to my texts but as a person who works with so many people, it is not unusual for a few to every so often be suddenly and without notice recruited out of this life.

I was warned once by another psychotherapist to never work with people with Borderline Personality Disorder. “They will make your life miserable. At first you will think they are the nicest and most interesting people. They will tell you how much you are helping them and make you feel great about yourself. Then suddenly POW!!! When you do one thing that they think is wrong you will be punished.” I have never been very good at taking other people’s advice but now that I am left feeling like I was unfairly judged for jaywalking, I see what he meant.

I’ve had to keep in mind the words of the troubled philosopher Seneca who wrote in exile, “No man is despised by another unless he is first despised by himself.” I obviously have no problem with jaywalking. I enjoy jaywalking. It is my trivial way of saying fuck you to the law-abiding world. I would never want any kind of advice from someone who does not know how to walk outside of the lines. As our society becomes increasingly entrenched within narrow minded laws and mindless conformity, walking outside the lines has become a way to exercise one’s autonomy.

The person who is not continually exercising their autonomy is doomed to struggle with mental illness, often a fundamental symptom of conformity. Therefore, I see it as my responsibility as a mental health professional to jaywalk. It is impossible to conform and have mental health. Conformity to the way of life in our current society creates immense mental health problems. What use am I to my clients if I am unable to do what is best for my own mental health?

As I lay in bed last evening I was thinking that maybe it was the act of jaywalking with a cigarette in my mouth that turned my client against me. I realize that psychotherapists are supposed to be examples of responsibility and health and seeing me cross the street in an illegal way while smoking may have destroyed the illusion all professionals are publicly supposed to create. It is possible that my client could not tolerate seeing me as my authentic self. Maybe it is my fault for being caught with my guard down while out in public. I don’t really know. All this thinking is madness. This is the problem with having relationships with people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Suddenly you are left feeling like you have done something terribly wrong but you don’t know what. They are good at taking the madness that is in their brains and inserting it into yours.

Jaywalking is one of the final ways I have left to protest a society that is all about following rigid and suffocating rules. When I was young I would spend entire days in protest marches but now I do not have the time or energy to do this. I also live in an area where acts of political protest do not exist. So for now, jaywalking is the best I can do to convince myself that some degree of an activist rebel is still alive in me despite living a more professional, suburban, middle-class life. If my client doesn’t like it, to hell with her.

“You are better off without her,” my wife said to me as she sat in bed next to me and intuited that I was still trying to figure out what went wrong with my client. “You are right,” I said to my wife. We turned out the bedroom lights and I placed my arms around her and pulled her into my body. Before falling asleep I thought, I am better off without her. This is advice I am going to take. Just let it go.

The Jaywalker. Part One.

My Sleeping Wife

Every morning starting at 8, I begin the long process of waking up my sleeping wife. She sleeps in the nude and at around 8am all the blankets are pulled off and her naked and supine body just rests there. Sometimes I imagine that this is how she would look if she were dead. The bedroom is completely dark even though the sun is very much new and alive outside.

I tell her it is time to wake up but she does not respond. I go back to reading my book.

At 9am I remind her that she is missing the best part of the day. Mornings are a time of renewal. Everything has a fresh start and is yet to be destroyed by the rest of the day and night. I try to entice my wife with a cup of two hour old coffee heated up on the stove, but her body refuses to move. Looking at my wife I often think how good her body looks in the nude but how much better it would look if she would just move.

Sometime at around 11am I return to the dark bedroom and remind my wife that she is sleeping her life away. By this time her body has shifted into a different position. Often she is laying on her back and I will notice if her pubic hair remains untended to. Sometimes I will receive a response from some part of her that is still alive, which says something like, I don’t want to get up. Please just let me sleep. I love you. She seems agitated but calm and indicates that she wants to be left alone. What kind of thirty-year-old woman sleeps like this? Isn’t this the time when a young person should be most engaged in life? But I keep these thoughts to myself and let her sleep.

At around 1pm I will ask my sleeping wife if she would like me to bring her some lunch and she always answers no. Sometimes she will even say that she needs to be careful with her weight so please do not entice her with food. But doesn’t she need to eat? I will think about all the things which could go wrong from a lack of nutrition but not say anything about it. Not to mention what happens to a body when it goes without any sunlight. It seems as if my sleeping wife just wants to hurry up and be old.

In mid-afternoon I confess to becoming mad. What kind of way is this to live? She is neglecting so much in her life? Why can’t she just get it together and wake up? If she would just start exercising everything would feel better. She needs to wake up and tend to her life! It is just not healthy to be in bed this long. All these thoughts and more start racing through my head at around 3 pm. What I do not seem to understand is that my sleeping wife is tired of life. She can not handle the load of responsibilities she must tend to as an adult and would rather just remain asleep. I don’t think this is a good coping mechanism.

I realize that my wife is a shy person who does not enjoy interacting with most people but this is no way to avoid the world. At around 5pm I will tell her this. I will tell her that being an adult involves doing a lot of things that you do not want to do and this is why most adults are terribly unhappy and addicted to so many things. Rather than sleeping all day I tell my wife that she needs to find healthier ways of being an adult in this messed up world but my wife just continues to sleep. At this point she is usually laying on her stomach, on top of our comforter. I notice how healthy and appealing her butt still looks. I feel my libido spike and I want to reach out and touch her butt. I always abstain because I know she would become violently angry if I invaded her space. I think about masturbating right there and then at the edge of our bedroom but never do.

At around 7pm I go back into the bedroom, this time frustrated and indignant (it is the same every day) and notice that she is not there. She has finally gotten out of bed and is either standing naked in the kitchen or she is naked on the toilet. If the human animal could be in a state of hibernation all the time I know my wife would never get up. But because she exists in a human body she must wake up. Often I will find her standing in front of the refrigerator eating various forms of vegan food. I will ask her if she wants me to make her something and she always says no. I will ask her if she heard about the most recent terrorist attack and she always says no and that she does not care.

At around 8pm, after taking a long shower, my sleeping wife is back in bed and will remain there for almost another twenty-four hours. At this point I no longer bother her even though I am completely frustrated by this on-going situation. I understand that this is how she is choosing to respond to living in the messed up adult world but I feel like there are more proactive and responsible choices that she could make. But what can a man do whose wife has decided to remain asleep? You try waking a sleeping wife up. Any attempt to intervene just pisses her off. I have learned through time and effort to let her be and instead make friends with my own loneliness and despair by reading a lot of books.

I am usually in bed around 10pm and try not to bother her.

The Inventor Of A Place Where The Place Is Not

I am an inventor of a place where the place is not.

I am pleased with the results of my invention.

Outside my back door I have simulated Northern California.

Outside my front door is the suburbs of Southern California.

I grew up in Northern Califonia. I currently reside in the suburbs of Southern California and experience a kind of subtle homesickness the moment I walk out my front door. This homesickysickness has forced me to become an inventor of a place. I call it a homesickysickness to reduce the painfulness of the expereince.

Homesickysickness creates a longing in a person to be somewhere they are not. It is a painful experience, especially when the longing is for a radically different place than the place in which one is.

Southern California is not that far from Northern California. An ambitous person could drive a car back and forth between the two, twice, in one day. But still, North and South could not be further apart. They are two totally different universes with absolutly nothing in common. I often state that a person should need a passport to go from one to the other. They are that radically different.

Make no mistake about it, California is a bipolar state.

The Southern California suburbs are even more radically different than Northern California suburbs. Even the birds, driveways, parks and mailboxes look different here.

In Northern California there is green. Green everywhere. And water seems to be more prevalent. And clean air. The light is different. The food tastes fresher. The lifestyle is more laid back. Artists and readers are not in hiding.

In Northern California I would often spend my days reading and felt fine about it. I would see other prolific readers around town. In Southern California I feel like I am doing something wrong when in a book for too long.

In Northern California my attention span and diet seemed to flourish. In Southern California there is too much distraction to care about these things.

In Northern California the culture is much more progressive and the people are slower, more bohemian and, well I hate to say it, but more well read. I lived in Northern California for forty years and never met a white person proud of their guns. In the Southern California suburbs white people are proud of their guns everywhere.

Televisions are everywhere in Southern California suburbs. It is probably the same up North but I like to think more channels are on public televsion networks up North. I could be wrong.

In Southern California there is brown and some green. My eyes spend an entire day searching for a significant patch of green in LA.

People here move too fast. People work too much. Facades masquerade for the real person. Image is king.

Heat and sun are constant. Style counts most. Culture is visual. Education levels are mediocre and general at best. The norm is found everywhere one looks. Those who are radically different are either in hiding or do not exist.

I never, ever, ever, ever see people reading books in Southern California but everyone is on phones. People tend to dislike each other a lot more in Southern California. It is a hostile place. The political zeitgiest is conservative.

I am a stranger in a strange land.

As a result I have become the inventor of a place in my backyard. I have grown trees and plants that are specific to Northern California. I have created an atmosphere that is Northern California. I even have a small redwood tree that refuses to grow.

My backyard is a laid back place with plenty of different areas to read and a teardrop trailer to nap in. I water constantly to maintain the green. I have built fire pits and hung hammocks from trees. I have captured several birds and squirrels from Northern California and set them free in my backyard. Most have gone back up North, despite being well fed.

I have stolen road signs from Northern California and placed them around my yard. I have taken these road signs down because seeing them just makes me too sad. I always end up putting them back up. And then taking them back down. And then putting them back up.

I am continually at work on creating a place where the place is not.

It has become an obsession. It is what I do to keep myself from becoming too depressed.

My wife gets mildly frustrated that I do not go out my front door as much as she would like. I tell her to please go run free in the world out there but she always prefers to stay with me. Okay then, lets get wine and smokes and go into the backyard, I say.

Why would I go out there more than I must? There is little I want to see, smell, taste or hear out there. Everyone is moving too fast. Normalizing Capitalistic Propaganda has been most successful here and everyone is pissed off about it happening to them. No, I prefer to stay in my backyard where sanity can be found.

Visualizing a landscape in Northern California can put me to sleep in under two minutes. I have not had the same result with my various Southern California visualizations.

I do almost everything in my backyard. I love my backyard in the same way a person loves a beloved dog or a penis or an iPhone. I only go out my front door when I must. I try to go for walks but always return home depressed. As a result most of my life is passed in the Northern California of my Southern California backyard. I prefer things this way. I feel home here. My anxiety is diminished and homesickysickness dissipates.

I am able to invent a place which is not the place I am in by creating an environment which allows me to forget the place I am in. This is the most important aspect of being an inventor of a place where a place is not- the invented place must be good enough that it enables forgetfulness and as a result encourages the imagination to become real.

Come visit me sometime in Northern California if you are ever in LA.